World Rugby’s alleged plan to completely ban trans women dubbed ‘irrational’ and ‘lacking evidence’ by charity

International Gay Rugby slams proposed ban on trans women in sport

International Gay Rugby has slammed a leaked World Rugby report proposing to ban trans women from the game, saying it is “irrational” and “lacks evidence”.

The world governing body for rugby is reportedly considering banning trans women from playing on women’s teams, after a forum earlier this year that was attended by bodies including an anti-trans campaign group.

International Gay Rugby, a charity that also attended the forum, has now directly addressed the transgender and non-binary rugby-playing community with the message: “You will always be welcome to play rugby.”

A working group set up by World Rugby after the forum compiled the 38-page draft document, leaked to the Guardian, which argues that trans women should be banned from playing the sport.

The document insists that trans women have a “significant” physical advantage over cisgender women.

It goes on to recommend that trans women be completely banned from playing on women’s rugby teams, claiming that current rules — which are based on those introduced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2003 — are “not fit for purpose”.

“It’s very surprising to see the restrictive turn that this review of the guidelines has taken, especially with the lack of research that has been conducted,” said Karl Ainscough-Gates, chair of International Gay Rugby, in reaction to the media reports.

“Rugby has always been a sporting role model for diversity and inclusion. We will be working with World Rugby to uphold those commitments and ensure that rugby remains a welcoming and open environment to transgender athletes,” he continued. 

“To anyone transgender or non-binary person who is doubting whether rugby is a sport for them after reading these reports, our message is very clear – come and play rugby with us! You will always be welcome in IGR.”

International Gay Rugby is now calling on World Rugby not to enact the proposed changes to the rules.

Instead, it urges World Rugby to recommit to the existing agreement on trans women in sport and to work with International Gay Rugby as “full partners” going forward on this issue.